What Will I Miss About Thailand: 3 of ?

March 4, 2019

Wearing sandals virtually all the time.

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Black ones for dry weather, grey ones for wet. Bare feets for indoors.

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What Will I Miss About Thailand: 2 of ?

March 3, 2019

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Many magnificent, mouth-watering, messy, mellow yellow mangoes.

 


What I Will Miss About Thailand: 1 of ?

March 2, 2019

Only time this isn’t included in my snacks for a bus to Bangkok is if I can’t find it.

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Only reason I don’t eat it more often is there are more nutritional ways to consume the same amount of fat.

 


Moving Money Out of Thailand

March 1, 2019

TransferWise doesn’t do transfers originating in Thailand. A wire transfer to my US bank is expensive. Besides, most Thai banks make that difficult and time consuming. I don’t travel with a lot of cash. What to do?

Get lucky. The last time I transferred funds from the US was Feb last year. My time here and bank account balance are winding down together nicely. Withdrew enough today to pay rent, buy meds, and fund the next week. What’s left over will fund the rest of the days, the taxi to Bangkok, the airport budget hotel, and enough left over to stock up on some Euros.

 

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18,380 baht is about $570.


My Cost of Living in Thailand – 2018

January 29, 2019

The TL;DR version: 1) Cost living of depends on how one lives (duh), so explanation below*, 2) Some costs are reasonably steady across the last 6 years (allowing for exchange rate differences), except 3) Spikes are explained, 4) I’m living within my means, 5) Making this public motivates me to do it right, and 6) I like playing with spreadsheets.

*Actually, here is the long explanation from 2015 . How spending has differed since then is described below the table.

2018 cola table for blog

Misc. increased because of political donations. Apparently I gave enough that people or bots in the 202 area code (Washington DC) keep calling my US Skype number despite my never answering.

For the first time the Visa category earned a row of it’s own. It includes everything I did in support of applying for a visa, such as the costs of staying in Bangkok, the round trips, necessary government documents, sending docs from my US mailbox, notarization at the US embassy in Bangkok at $50 each, etc.

My concept of ‘cost of living’ changed while doing last year’s financial review. I’ve lived off my taxable (non-IRA) account through ’16. Spending was cost of living. Since retiring, the only withdrawals from my IRA were conversions from Traditional IRA to Roth IRA in ’15, ’16 and ’17. That’s not spending.

This year my taxable account bottomed out. IRA came to the rescue. In 2019 IRA withdrawals will be to fund the accounts I live off of. Going forward, managing how much is left in the IRA will be the most important part of my finances. I need to make that obvious in my financial spreadsheets. So, I’m calling spending from the IRA the Cost of Retirement. That spending minus Social Security is my Cost of Living.

Previous Cost of Living Posts: 2017 , 2016 , 2015 , 2014. No post in 2013.

My Cost of Living in Thailand – 2017

January 4, 2018

The tl;dr version: 1) Cost living of depends on how one lives (duh), so explanation below*, 2) Many costs are steady across the last 5 years, except 3) Spikes are explained, 4) I’m living within my means, 5) Making this public motivates me to do it right. Glad I did. This year I realized I hadn’t recorded half of the health insurance payments for 2016, and 6) I like playing with spreadsheets.

*Actually, here is the long explanation from 2015. How spending has differed since then is described below the table.

Spending 2013-2017 v3 - 120Pct

 

Travel increased both in duration and cost per day in ’16 and ’17 because I wanted to, I could, and I’m not getting any younger.

US income taxes dropped because I didn’t follow the same Roth IRA conversion strategy used in ’15 and ’16. Wanted to see what could happen to income taxes in ’18. That paid off. In ’17 converted half the previous years amount so the taxes wouldn’t matter much.

I changed format from previous cost of living posts, separating medical care and medical insurance costs for the last five years. Medical care costs jumped in 2016. Six months of post heart attack meds and follow-up testing will do that. 2017 added a Cardiac MRI, 2 pairs eyeglass lenses, removal of a broad, deep, black, benign mole, and treatment of a grade II sprained ankle.

Eating out spending dropped for the same reason eating at home increased: to cut down on the palm oil and coconut milk in my diet.

My concept of ‘cost of living’ changed while doing this usual year end financial review. I’ve lived off my taxable (non-IRA) account through ’16. Spending was cost of living.

Since retiring, the only withdrawals from my IRA were conversions from Traditional IRA to Roth IRA in ’15, ’16 and ’17. That’s not spending.

Next year IRA withdrawals will be to fund the accounts from which I spend. Going forward, managing how much is left in the IRA will be the most important part of my finances. I think I’ll call the withdrawals Cost of Retirement. Spending minus Social Security will be my Cost of Living.

 

 

 


Adventures in Smartphone Shopping

October 12, 2017

My electronic retail experiences in Thailand have usually had some combination of random weirdness, salespeople lying blatantly, after carefully checking the features of a display model being told there is no more stock except the display model, etc. I wasn’t looking forward to buying a new phone.

On day 2 in Portugal, I managed to step on the earbud cord while moving self and phone from chair to bed. Earbuds survived, the headphone jack hasn’t worked since. Knew the phone I wanted was current version of my mute 2 year old phone. Knew I wanted a warranty valid in Thailand, so waited until jet lag wore off before buying one in Hua Hin.

Samsung made it difficult (with tongue in cheek). Where once there was one model, now there are four variations: Core, Prime, Pro, Plus (say that fast 3 times). Samsung’s website price for the Pro was 10,900 THB (~330 USD), but a promotion for the month of October dropped it to 9,900 (~300 USD). All the stores I checked had the 10,900 price, except 1 of the 2 official Samsung stores. I was wary because the 9,900 price was on a sign at the shop entrance, while the display model was the only one that didn’t have a price tag. First thing I did was ask. Answer was 8,900 (~270 USD). I didn’t understand. Didn’t have to because I’ve long since learned the meaning of the common expat one size fits all explanatory phrase: ‘This is Thailand’.